Steel vs. Ice

Russian icebreaker going round in circles keeping the sea ice broken for the incoming supply ships.

Russian icebreaker going round in circles keeping the sea ice broken for the incoming supply ships.

A research vessel in Antarctica recently became trapped in the sea ice off of East Antarctica.  Sea ice is usually only a few meters thick and can be seasonal or multi-year, but it is much thinner than ice sheets (resting on the continent), ice shelves (floating in the ocean), or glaciers in general.  In 1912, the Endurance was trapped and crushed by sea ice, but the steel icebreakers of today are more resistant to the stresses and strains of the ice flows than the older wooden ships.

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